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News Link • Environment

Steak or Veggie Burger: Which is Greener?

•, By Kiera Butler

Is vegetarianism always better for the planet than eating meat? Four food and environment experts and MoJo readers weigh in at our forum.

How would you like your burger cooked?"

I froze. The waitress looked at me expectantly. "Medium. You want medium," my friend whispered. "Medium!" I said.

"You sure about that?" Withering look.

"I'm a lifelong vegetarian," I confessed.

"Oh," said the waitress. "Weird."

My efforts to blend in at the burger joint were not off to a great start.

What was I doing there in the first place? I live in Berkeley, California, where even the greasiest of spoons offers a tofu scramble. But lately, something strange has happened: Despite local food god Michael Pollan's edict to eat "mostly plants," my friends seem to be consuming more meat, not less. Parties are no longer just parties—they're pig roasts, or chili cook-offs, or crab feeds. At the farmers market, stroller moms swarm the meat stand to flirt with the hunky, bearded butcher.  

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